E Madison towers not to blame for KEXP dead air

It was a failed memory card and not an issue on E Madison’s massive radio and TV towers that knocked Seattle’s ubiquitous independent music station KEXP off the air Tuesday morning.

“Our transmitter OS runs on a CompactFlash card,” Jamie Alls, KEXP chief engineer, told GeekWire. “It’s been there for 11 years, and it just chose this morning to crap out. Luckily we were able to get the backup transmitter working, and this issue shouldn’t come up again anytime soon.”

The period of dead air lasted only about two hours starting around 8:40 AM but it was a reminder for many how lonely your commute or your cafe could be without KEXP. It was also a reminder of the important role the E Madison towers play in the city’s communications. Continue reading

More openings and closings: Fogon returns, ‘A Pizza’ bar you might have missed, and Capitol Hill now down one ramen joint

(Image: A Pizza Mart)

Monday’s update on a more unusual example of a papered over Capitol Hill food+drink window reminded us — and a few readers — of a few more updates to add to our roster of is it open/is it closed ponderings. Below, we’ve tallied a few more new places to check out and marked a passing or two we missed along the way.

  • Fogon is nearly ready to return to action after being shut down since a July kitchen fire. Neighborhood tipsters Blair and Richard report that the E Pine Mexican favorite hopes to reopen Friday if everything goes well with the inspector. Fogon missed its own August birthday — it debuted the corner of Pine and Belmont six years ago. UPDATE 9/13/2018: Co-owner Noel Cortez tells CHS it might take a few more days to get the doors reopened. He’s shooting for a Sunday opening and tells CHS a silver lining to the situation has been time to do more work around the restaurant like redoing floors and sanding tables. Though the staff and ownership have also had a bit of a break as contractors worked to repair a damaged exhaust fan and finish up other repairs from the fire, Cortez says they’re also ready to get back to work. “They’re a little board. And they’re ready to make some money.” Cortez says the closure caused Fogon to miss what has typically been a strong month of business but he’s also grateful to be reopening after what could have been a major fire. “It could have been worse,” Cortez said. The closure has also been a reminder of the support of the neighborhood for the popular restaurant. “They brought card over from across the street,” Cortez said. “It’s been great.” Continue reading

Mural covers design review color problems on Capitol Hill apartment building

Seattle’s design reviews can be a mystery but a compromise decision reached by the East Design Review Board in June might have produced one of the most unusual design solutions in the history of the process.

Work was recently completed on a big new mural on the west-facing wall of the surface parking lot neighboring E Madison’s Broadcast Apartments. Designed by artist Sarah Robbins, the retaining wall mural was a solution approved by the board earlier this summer in a dispute over the use of the wrong color siding during the construction of the six-story mixed-use apartment building. In the end, the board split with one member pushing for the replacement of the siding fins but the rest of the board deciding the mural would do the job.

Building developer Trent Mummery of Trent Development, Inc. tells CHS his project “wanted to work with a local group” to create the art and connected with Urban Artworks to find Robbins.

Speaking of Seattle transit bumps, officials sorting Madison Bus Rapid Transit trolley problem

While we’re taking a spin as the Capitol Hill Transit Blog, the area’s next big transit investment is facing a major barrier to acquiring its much needed $60 million federal grant. It’s not Donald Trump. And it’s not this E Madison gay bar.

The Seattle Transit Blog broke the news last week — the Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro have been sideswiped by a collision of international trade barriers, the unique design of Madison “Bus Rapid Transit,” and the corridor’s challenging grade and are scrambling to find a bus design capable of meeting the $120 million project’s needs and plans for electric trolley coaches:

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Capitol Hill’s Pony bar negotiating small change to make a little room for big bus project on Madison

When it comes to Capitol Hill gay bar Pony, inches matter.

“It’s been a tough road,” owner Mark Stoner tells CHS. But he insists the Seattle Department of Transportation has been friendly to deal with even in a situation involving a multi-million project, the whims of the Trump administration’s approach to federal transportation funding, and a major Seattle artery in line for massive change.

Stoners tells CHS that a permit recently issued for removing 242 square feet of Pony’s famed patio along the E Madison side of the structure is related to a unique situation for the bar that has stood on the triangular parcel along the busy street since 2009 — its tiny chunk of patio is the only property along the route that the city needs when it finally digs in on the $120 million+, 11-stop Madison Bus Rapid Transit project that will connect First Hill through to Madison Valley via Capitol Hill with speedy, regular Metro bus service in the busy corridor.  Continue reading

Design board settles on big new mural to solve Capitol Hill building’s color problem

The mural is planned to cover this giant blank cement wall currently facing the FAME Church parking lot

Murals solve everything. The fix for this Capitol Hill building forced to return to design review this week because it has the wrong color siding will be a giant mural running the length of the western wall below the Broadcast Apartments. No matter the solution, the situation is going to be a challenging and potentially expensive outcome for the developer.

The East Design Review Board settled on the solution Wednesday night in an extraordinary session for the body that had it questioning the very essence of its own existence. “Should we accept a $5,000 mural vs. a $50,000 fix?” one board member asked.

At issue was the bronze-colored siding used across the entirety of the completed and occupied Broadcast building, the champagne-colored siding that was supposed to be used on the structure’s vertical “fins” but wasn’t because the developer says the material was not available, and, of course, what to do about it. Continue reading

Merlot, pinot, and chardonnay on tap with less waste the plan for Capitol Hill’s Footprint Wine

Seattle is beer country with more breweries than any other city in the nation. Kenneth Dillon, a Seattle wine aficionado, has decided to do something about evening the score — and doing it with a new, more environmentally friendly approach.

Dillon plans to open his own unique Footprint Wine bar and tap on E Madison by September.

“I’m happy to now be joining the Capitol Hill wine community and hope to give a little back to the community one glass of wine at a time,” Dillon said.

Before realizing he could work with wine as a career, Dillon spent 10 years in human resources, including four at the University of Washington. He always had a passion for the grape since it was legal for him to drink it, but didn’t actually break into the industry until 2016. Continue reading

Design review slated for Capitol Hill apartment building’s missing ‘champagne’

For lack of “metallic champagne,” Capitol Hill’s newly completed Broadcast Apartments building will, indeed, face a rare post-construction design review Wednesday night. This public comment letter might sum up many reactions to the meeting:


But the effort to review the change in materials used on the project is required, the city told CHS last month when we reported on the brewing color issues at the 1420 E Madison development.
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City says missing color means Capitol Hill’s completed Broadcast Apartments must go back to design review

The 70 or so residents living inside and the owners of an incoming restaurant don’t seem to mind one bit but a newly constructed Capitol Hill building has a major color problem and is likely headed back to the design review board to sort things out.

“We think it’s an extremely attractive building. It’s been very successful,” Trent Mummery tells CHS about the Metropolitan Homes development now standing on the northwest corner of 15th and Madison. “We’re puzzled why this issue is even coming up.”

The date hasn’t yet been set but the Broadcast Apartments could end up being one of those unusual — but not totally unheard of — Seattle projects to be approved by the design review board after its construction has been completed. Continue reading

Central District’s Williams remembered as business — and neighborhood — leader

Williams in a Juneeteenth parade (Image: CHS/Central District News)

DeCharlene Williams, one of the most visible advocates of preservation and inclusive growth in the Central District in her decades heading the Central Area Chamber of Commerce, has died, her family announced this weekend.

“This morning at 9:06 AM I lost one of my best friends, my mom DeCharlene Williams to uterine sarcoma cancer,” her daughter Rita Green posted Sunday. Continue reading